LinkedIn had four suitors before Microsoft acquisition

Filing reveals Redmond and Salesforce were not the only bidders for the social network

LinkedIn on a mobile device

Four companies were engaged in a bidding war to acquire LinkedIn before Microsoft finally won out, it has been revealed.

A filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) reveals that four parties in addition to Microsoft, known only as Party A, Party B, Party C and Party D, considered buying the social network, although with varying levels of interest.

Despite several meetings with LinkedIn's CEO Jeff Weiner and other representatives of the company, parties B, C and D ultimately made no offer, although Party B did go as far as a having a due dilligence call.

The filing sheds additional light on how far Salesforce, which can safely be assumed to be party A after CEO Marc Benioff admitted it nearly bought LinkedIn, went in its attempts to buy the social network.

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According to the filing, Party A initially offered $160-$165 per share in a mix of cash and stocks on 25 April, with Microsoft then matching this amount with an all-cash bid on 4 May. Party A then followed this up with a bid of $171 per share in a 50/50 mix of cash and shares on 9 May, with Microsoft offering $172 two days later.

Ultimatley, while Party A and Microsoft both entered final bids of $182, it would seem that Microsoft's all-cash offer won the day.

While the identity of Party C remains a mystery, Re/code claims that parties B and D were Google and Facebook respectively.

Indeed, while they were not as agressive as Party A, they are the two suitors that showed the most serious interest. While Party C ultimately declined to make an offer fairly early on, parties B and D only backed out after the due dilligence call, in the case of the former, and being told there were other bidders, in the case of the latter.

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